Christmas rebels

All hail the quiet rabble rousers. A purposeful oxymoron, yes.

Christmas has become a cottage industry. Have you noticed? (And yes, that rhetorical question drips with sarcasm.)

A few of us have. Or so it seems, this year.

I am not feeling anti-Christmas or missing the magic. The birth of Jesus Christ, whether you believe he is the son of God or not, is worthy of awe.

So it is not Christmas per se that us rebels fight. It is the hoopla surrounding it.

This season, more than ever, I have no desire to step foot in a mall. To see people jostling and bickering over the last red sweater or frantically chasing this year’s It toy (I’m channeling fond memories of trying to track down the last remaining Hogwarts Lego castle many moons ago.).

We’ve lost the point. Not just missed it, but thrown it out the window, people.

Many years, I have been sick at Christmas. You know why? Because I have made myself so.

I have worked frantically for large corporations who did not care about the upcoming holiday, but did care about a deadline. And when I finally stopped to take a breath, it was December 24th. My tired body rebelled with a flu bug, thinking my momentary pause was me waving the white flag. Perhaps it was.

I’ve shopped until I dropped in order to put far too many presents, presents that then went neglected within a matter of weeks, under the tree.

I’ve baked ridiculous cookies from Bon Apetit recipes (before I was seasoned enough to know only women with too much time on their hands actually make anything from Bon Apetit).

In my house, an abode traditionally filled with Christmas music, gingerbread houses and stockings hung by the chimney with care, it all looked good. Most of it tasted good. I, however, was exhausted. I was “doing” Christmas by the book. But I wasn’t necessarily stopping to feel Christmas.

Pop-Up Book - Christmas Story. Styled 3D pop-up book with a chrsitmas theme including a family building a snowman, winter forest and stars. Illustration.
I was “doing” Christmas by the book. But I wasn’t necessarily stopping to feel Christmas.

This year, there are fewer presents under the tree. This is both purposeful and cautionary as my contract work slows down. Funny. I feel happier about what is under that tree because I’ve placed far less importance on it. I feel lighter. It’s REALLY not about the stuff this year.

Lately, I’ve not wanted Johnny Mathis and Bing Crosby crooning to me 24/7 about jingle bells and silent nights. Instead, I’ve experienced some actual silent nights like the one I’m having now with my dog snuggled next to me and my youngest asleep next to her. The room dark save for the Christmas tree lights. I like nights like this one better than anything Bing can whisper in my ear.

This year, we will make (gasp) only two Christmas cookie varieties. And I’m betting my boys will savor them all the more. Bon Apetit recipes are not even allowed with a 100-foot radius of my kitchen this season.

I’m looking forward to Christmas Eve with a good friend and her lovely family. Christmas Day with my children, a hearty breakfast together and a day spent enjoying each other’s company. Some quiet time to reflect on all the spiritual bits of the season. How thankful I am for the good. How, despite any situations that might appear to induce fear or worry, I know only good lies before me. How to keep that certainty in my day to day life not only through this season, but into the upcoming year.

There is magic in this next week or two. The magic of love. Spirituality. A new year and the hope for new beginnings.

Christmas Tree in Snow
The quiet magic is what we’re all about.

Christmas rebels, unite. That quiet magic is what we’re all about. It’s rabble rousing at its very best.

And lest you wonder if that quiet rabble rousing is worth anything, let me vouch for it. Three years ago, I was about three weeks from a finalized divorce. I was tired, metaphorically battered and bruised, in the middle of a lot of loss. But I was a Christmas rebel then, as attested to by the green flying pig that still graces my Christmas tree. “When pigs fly” took on a very literal meaning that holiday.

That was the year I was baptized by fire into the less is more club. The I Am Enough club. The What Really Matters club.

I’ve been a Christmas rebel ever since.

Join me.





47 Comments Add yours

  1. It is not just Christmas, even in India during Diwali people go extra excited for the festivities. But when its over you see the same with no satisfaction; they realize that they have forgotten to celebrate the festival in their urge to do everything ‘right’

    1. candidkay says:

      I’ll take happy over “right” any day:).

  2. Just reread this post and I hope you had a peaceful Christmas. I am nominating you for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Should you choose to accept, hop on over to to read a few tidbits about me I was required to share. May you have a blessed New Year.

  3. Aunt Beulah says:

    Ah, Kay, I had already joined you, but didn’t know it until I read this post. Each year, my Christmas preparations dwindle and my enjoyment of Christmas increases. But you already know that.

    1. candidkay says:

      I did know that:). But love that I have kindred spirits who focus on the joy rather than the frenetic pace they’ve left behind:).

  4. I agree that less is more when it comes to Christmas. I’m always trying to pare down. Unfortunately, my husband loves the gift part of Christmas and lavishes everyone with generous, extravagant presents. Oh well. I let him do the buying and I do the decorating. Somehow it works out.

    1. candidkay says:

      Am chuckling to myself because as I try to give my kids more experiences, they still seem to get things from all quarters. Our culture still revolves around the glitter:). I guess we have to find ways to work around it!

  5. reocochran says:

    I like your rebellion and I have been a rebel, since I turned 50, ten years ago. I have been happily not baking, not doing much decorating and celebrating simplicity. I “lost” a career, house and husband within those years. Oh well! Sadly, I lost a dear friend who was my mentor while I was attending master’s degree courses. She died of cancer at 42. It prevents my ever whining again. The apt I live in is cozy, my ex husband and I never have to speak, my job is okay and I get to “work out” instead of using my mind. My sister in law and brothers take home their piles of papers, both professors. I take nothing home but sore muscles. Lol
    I have a deep abiding respect for life and how it can all turn on a dime. It helped eliminate my judging anyone. Hope you have a fantastic rest of the year: you, rabble rouser, Kay! 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      So much change–but you sound like the lighter you makes you happier. I, too, lost a good friend to cancer. It made me realize I must still be here for a reason. And I needed to get really clear on what that was. Glad you have:).

      1. reocochran says:

        Being here “for a reason” allows us to be more caring and worrying less about pomp and circumstance. Kay, I like your choice to cut back on baking but I feel your 8 year old continues to need some of the decorations and fuss. I am glad you kept some of it! 🙂 I had plenty of little festive touches for my grandies to enjoy and feel like Christmas was here. I did love a story about the holy manger being a “life-barn,” which I posted from an author I found. (“Christmas decorations” post) It had the smell of dirty animals and how the story held messiness. It caused me to have my oldest grandson paint my grandma’s creche plaster of Paris characters darker to fit the etnicity of the real story. Smiles, Robin

      2. candidkay says:

        No worries, Robin. My sons joked with me that making three kinds of cookies and still decorating the house was not truly cutting back:). My 8-year-old is now 11! Time flies. Glad you were able to bring the magic for your family!

  6. Roy McCarthy says:

    Happily I’m able to ignore the whole thing without upsetting or annoying anyone these days. It’s way easier and stressful. But I’m still able to wish you a Happy Christmas Kristine, and a great 2016.

    1. candidkay says:

      Merry Christmas to you also, Roy! Wishing you a new year filled with blessings.

  7. mishal72 says:

    I have been feeling the same way the past few years. Doing so often interferes with being; so this year it’s more about being present and less about buying presents at our home. I too am a Christmas rebel. 🙂 Merry Christmas!!!

    1. candidkay says:

      Presence, not presents:). Oh, I like that. Merry Christmas to you also!

  8. I am joining you, sister! I loved: “We’ve lost the point. Not just missed it, but thrown it out the window, people.” And the part about actual silent nights. I live in NYC. I went to a store last night, and it was beyond chaos. Had to leave. This is definitely not what it’s about.
    A fantastic and timely piece.

    May your Christmas be filled with pure joy, peace and bliss. You deserve it. Praying for you. ❤

    1. candidkay says:

      Wishing you a joyful holiday week filled with plenty of peaceful moments:). And thank you so very much for those prayers. I’m a firm believer they work!

  9. ksawrites says:

    The mall! Agh! Yes. I went yesterday to grab one thing — non-Christmas related. (Um, someone ran out of a very important beauty related item … 😉 We can’t have that.) Anyhow, while looking for parking, a woman screamed at me out her passenger window and gave me a rather unkind Christmas greeting with her finger. She wanted to go down an up aisle, and I was already going up that up aisle, but what killed me was that her child was in the car, watching his mom lose her mind and probably thinking, “So, this is Christmas.”

    1. candidkay says:

      And that same woman will probably sing loudly from her church pew today while thinking herself very holy:). Oh, the irony.

  10. I am with you sister! I have a print in our kitchen that reads, “Want Better, Not More.” It’s a life motto of sorts for all the reasons you’ve just described so beautifully. Time, reflection, peace and quiet. All the very best things and I’m certain what we will care most about then the party is over. Wishing you lots of snuggling and time with those that love you. Lovely, lovely post.

    1. candidkay says:

      I love that quote! Might just put that up somewhere I can see it often:). Thank you–have a lovely holiday!

  11. What does Christmas actually mean? It’s not about the giving and receiving of gifts, celebrating a birthday? Perhaps, but when was Jesus born? Certainly not the 25th of December, that date was a pagan celebration adopted by the Romans when the Emperor converted and decided all citizens had to worship just the one God and not the hundreds of pagan gods. That’s why I don’t celebrate the birth of the Christ at this time of year. Perhaps he was born in December when it was the 10th month, before Julius and Augustus decided to add their months in the middle of the year? Will we ever find out? Who knows, I look on this time of year to reflect on what has been, what went right, what went wrong and look forward to a New Year and a chance to begin again.

    1. candidkay says:

      The chance to begin again is a wonderful reason to celebrate. And how many of us wouldn’t welcome that?!

      1. I’m sure we all want a reason to celebrate especially at this time of the year. 😍

  12. reocochran says:

    I will join you, Kay! 🙂 I am getting better and better at screening out people who drag me down or “things ” which used to be so much more important than they really were. Great post with a powerful reminder. I like your message.

    1. candidkay says:

      Shedding of both can make you feel so much lighter. The energy brought to the table matters, doesn’t it? Thanks for stopping by and commenting:).

  13. Marie says:

    Maybe it’s the absence of snow or the unseasonably warmer temperatures, but I find myself wistful for simpler practices. Mindfulness over frivilousness.

    1. candidkay says:

      I think it’s more than just the temp:). I think some of us are finally wise enough to see what brings us joy . . . and it’s hard to beat simplicity!

      1. darcilopez says:

        I agree. I know that as the years go by, as life happens and unfolds, less importance is placed on the exterior things of Christmas. I see now what brings me joy, and it’s watching my kids play, spending time with family, eating good food and socializing with friends. Thank you for this post 🙂

      2. candidkay says:

        I guess that means you are just heading in the right direction as you age 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful holiday with family and friends!

  14. “The what really matters club.” Yes. I love this. I don’t do any holiday baking at all unless it’s to make Chex party mix. I think it’s time to teach my son how to make it. I haven’t made cookies for several years because I can’t eat them (allergic to dairy, eggs, and sugar- not deathly severe allergies, but enough), and my husband is always harping about trying to lose weight and dieting. Since the kid doesn’t care, I get away with it. Lately I’m either listening to Windham Hill’s Celtic Christmas II, or some very new version of old classics sung by groups like PTX (Pentatonics), acapella group.

    I’m with you in soaking up the meaning of the season without getting wrapped up in all the marketing hype. And I look forward to the number of daily emails to drop back down to something sane.

    1. candidkay says:

      Yes! Daily emails and a break from technology are in order. I love that you’re listening to Windham Hill also. Will have to check out the Pentatonics covers. I hope you get some rest, peace and a saner pace over the next couple of weeks!

  15. I’m with you Kay, my favourite Christmas is a whisper, not a shout.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, I love the way you put that:). Wishing you a very merry and peaceful Christmas!

  16. suemclaren24 says:

    Welcome to the Holiday Rebellion & Growth Club.

    1. candidkay says:

      Is there a secret handshake?:)

  17. Love the place you are in Kay. It’s perfect and your positive vibration will be passed on to all who share Christmas with you. Enjoy this true understanding. 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      Wishing you and yours a beautiful, peaceful holiday!

  18. A very loud cheer resounding from across the Pacific Kay. It is a…’do it with love or don’t do it at all’… cheer.
    And a huge hug from here also, may the beauty that your heart is seeing be realised in all that you do.
    It is a quiet truth that slowly knocks on your door to be let in as you travel through life. I am glad that your journey has found that place, and that door shows much more beauty than the tinsel of this world.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours, from a love that is part of us all and will grace your heart always, regardless of the season. Namaste xo

    1. candidkay says:

      I’ll take that cheer and match it:). Merry Christmas to you and yours also, Mark! Thank you for being such a kind, supportive voice on this journey.

      1. My pleasure Kay. It is always a gift to see another standing in their truth after many roads traveled. And I have also learned much, you express them very well. Cheers! 🙂

  19. fritzdenis says:

    We decided two years ago that each person in the family would give one gift to each member of the family. This lets us savor each gift a lot more and reduced a lot of stress when it came to shopping. We focus on spending time together on Christmas Day and keeping things simple. You’ve got the right idea.

    1. candidkay says:

      What a great idea. Simplifying can seem so scary and yet, I really do think it lightens things up for all of us. It’s just taking that plunge that is so tough. So many people need to hide behind the stuff this time of year.

  20. I’m with you sister. I was once a Martha Stewart Christmas wanna be. I do still, however, get a little Christmas crazy when I hear the Charlie Brown Chistams album.

    1. candidkay says:

      But of COURSE the Charlie Brown Christmas album:). That’s just about the only one besides Windham Hill that is pleasing to me right now. It’d be pure blasphemy not to be able to put that one on!

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